Wednesday May 30, 201205:06 AM GMT
Sudan passes Abyei on to UN forces after pullout
UN peacekeeping forces are seen in disputted region of Abyei on May 30, 2011.
UN peacekeeping forces are seen in disputted region of Abyei on May 30, 2011.
Wed May 30, 2012 5:4AM
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Sudan has pulled its troops out of the disputed oil-rich border region of Abyei, handing it over to the UN forces, says the world body.


"The UN peacekeeping mission in Abyei, UNISFA, has confirmed that the withdrawal of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) from the Abyei area was completed today late in the evening," UN peacekeeping spokesman Kieran Dwyer said Tuesday.

The pullout comes after Sudanese officials met with their South Sudanese counterparts in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to settle their differences over the border region.

The talks followed an escalation in fighting between the two sides over oil fields in the disputed border town of Heglig last month.

Tensions do remain high, but the South says the only option is a peaceful settlement.

Both sides have accused one another of inciting violence, cross-border incursions and airstrikes.

The two countries are set to resume tough negotiations on issues like sharing oil revenues and border demarcation.

Abyei was supposed to hold a referendum in January 2011 on whether it belonged to Sudan or the South, but the voting was stalled over disagreements on who could vote.

South Sudan seceded in a similar referendum last July, but critical issues, including Abyei, were not resolved.

The UN says more than 100,000 people have been displaced from Abyei due to the conflict.

DB/GHN/MA
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